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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ah Been Ta New Yawk, Hunnie

Back in the olden days I lived in a first floor apartment with BD on Floyd Avenue in the Fan. Our neighbors 3 doors down were the Corkers - mountain people who'd move into the city to work on the railroads. They had one son who was famous in the city as a flamboyant transvestite - back in the days when that would excite comment, stares and laughter. He and his mother were about the same size and one day she would appear in her polyester pantsuit and the next day Donnie might. He'd been on the scene for quite some time before I moved into the neighborhood and later on he became even more known, under the degrading nickname of Dirt Woman - but I always called him Donnie and we chatted whenever our paths crossed.

One day I was in the laundromat across the street and he joined me. I noted that I hadn't seen him in a while and he tossed his head and said, "Ah been ta New Yawk, Hunnie".

Well Hunnies, that is where I have been too.

At the last minute I was able to squeeze out a few vacation days to slip away with BD to visit beloved friends who live in Westchester. They are opera lovers - and fabulous cooks - and true new yawkers. They love their city and are perfect hosts for sharing surprises, little hide-away nooks, secret fun parts of the city as well as all the famous landmarks. We are tourists, opera lovers and fabulous eaters!

So on Friday I packed while BD took Jack to the Cathy's Skyview Kennels. Then we hopped in the car and tooled on up 301 to Baltimore where we picked up the the wide roads to York PA. BD wanted to see just how much longer it was to drive into NYC via a western route. He hates the NJ Turnpike and the tolls are high enough that the extra miles might not cost as much. We drove 40 extra miles and at 34 miles per gallon .... you can do the math - it costs $3 just to get back into Virginia on 301. Of course the extra miles add time to the drive and we had a 1 hour stop in Kutstown PA where mysterious invisible highway maintenance men had set up invisible machinery working silently on invisible highway repairs. We never saw hide nor hair of any work or anyone ... only signs. Fortunately I had knitting in my lap.

But it put us behind to the point that we crossed the GW bridge in the dusk of an urban evening, on a Friday night, in a strange (and enormous) city. We missed our turn, ended up on another north/south artery and arived at our destination about 8 o'clock. And for one of the few times in my life - I needed a drink!

Happily, one was provided, as well as all sorts of warm welcomes and a delicious supper, excited happy conversation and a big fluffy soft bed. The next morning all memories of nasty traffic were erased and my hostess and I headed off to the Scarsdale Woman's Club fall book sale where I picked up my own copy of Camellia Panjabi's Great Curries of India. I am absolutely going to make that curry with pistachios in it - I will I will I will!

A weekend with B&M is going to be filled with delicious food and it's very likely to include a trip to the Arthur Street Market. This is Italian NYC in a microcosm and it's thrilling, fun, and delicious.  And they don't just sell food, though that's the main focus. There was a demonstration of mozzarella making. There was a cigar rolling vendor! You can see someone is thinking hard about a purchase but ... his will was strong!

Of course - the market isn't the only place to get great food - here's the sausage shop! Yes. You can certainly pick a favorite from this place. I got one last time we were here and the smell alone is worth the stop.

There are pretty things to buy everywhere - in fact I was amazed at how many neighborhoods were flooded with street vendors. Neighborhoods that, in my experience, would be too staid and banker-like to tolerate such clutter. But there you have it. It's New Yawk, hunnie.

Of course - the big event of the trip was our night at the opera - Don Giovanni, performed at Lincoln Center. I had imagined one ought to dress for the opera - that we should all look like the little man from the Monopoly game - but dress is varied. Yes. There were diamonds and pearls and stiletto heels that promised to topple the wearer - but there were also jeans and sweaters. We were somewhere in the middle. And boy was I glad I took my light coat because it was cooooold that night.

Here we are, BD and TheQueen, in all the glitter of a city with night life. And don't you doubt it - it was fun! The singing was outstanding - so good it almost seems insulting to admit I had a favorite, but Barbara Frittoli, who sang the part of Donna Elvira, absolutely took my breath away. It's a silly opera but fun to watch, with dances and a spectacular death scene complete with flames and a hellish descent for Don Giovanni. It was the complete opera experience and our seats, "in the clouds" as our host described them, were actually very good, smack in the middle of the row and the acoustics at Lincoln Center guarantee that you'll hear everything. 
The next day we toured Manhattan by car. The thinking was that since it was Sunday we'd find it easier to park. That never happened but we got to see so many New Yawk landmarks we didn't mind spending a bit of time here or there hunting a place to stop. This is The Cloisters (yes. I have their herb gardening book). The view of the Hudson was spectacular..

There was even a sailboat (motoring upriver) to give us the hint of by-gone days.
Here is St. John the Divine - with all it's fabulous stonework - still being built - purportedly one day to be the largest cathedral in the world.

Lunch was real bagels and lox at Steve Greenspring's deli. And BD had the most delicious borscht I've ever tasted! But then - every where we went was toomuchsogoodunbelieveable food.

We had to stop in Greenwich Village - though it didn't really look any different from Arthur Avenue except there were more restaurants and fewer grocers. And a hat shop!

Everywhere in NYC there is beautiful brickwork and lovely ironwork, and cars and people and well. I really don't need to say more, do I?

I wanted to go across the Brookyn Bridge. In fact I am determined to re-read Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - a book that had a pivotal impact on me as a young reader. I would have asked to walk across it but the day was waning and we had an appointment for cocktails to keep.

 Our last day included visits with friends and an afternoon at the Bronx Zoo - a beautiful spot even if it didn't have exotic animals. 

It was a chilly day - with hints of winter in the air - the sort of day that stirs up an appetite - a good thing since dinner was going to be delectable h'ors d'oeuvres and standing rib roast with baked potatoes, broccoli and the best snaps I've had in a month of Sundays.

Suddenly it was Tuesday - and time to pack up and head home. We left around 8:30 and this time took the expensive toll roads home. The comparison ended up being either 40 extra miles and an hour + of driving vs. $29 in tolls one way. But the time saved going home was worth the price of the tolls because by 3:15 we were back at the kennels and just look who was so glad to see his mama!

I realio trulio love NY - but east or west - home is best.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Yeah. I can do the hard stuff too. Before Bricca could calcify into a UFO I ripped out that loose stitching. I decided to give the KPDreamz needles a second chance. It may not have been their slickness but my tired hands that caused all that sloppy stitching. And I'd really like to spend more time with these new needles. Not that there will be much knitting done today - it is Wednesday, and in the middle of October that means quarterly board meeting AND pre-school story hour day. 

And if there's time this evening I'll stop by the brand new wine shop in Tappahannock -

All About Wine

for their Wednesday afternoon wine tasting. Yum. They promise a Cabernet Sauvignon - and that's my current favorite wine. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Anniversaries - with a little knitting at the end

It's always a good day when I see a bald eagle as I'm driving off in the morning and look what we saw as we headed towards Richmond Sunday morning. No. It's not a buzzard. 
It was a gorgeous day, though and I had knitting in my lap. BD remembered we had to go through Hustle because the road to Sparta is still out. (locals will understand this). We were headed to Richmond because that's where it all began - on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, lo these 4 decades ago. So we wanted to walk around the campus, see how many places we could still get into, (none), sigh over how things have changed and laugh at how little they really have changed. The girls hardly look any different - the boys are much less shaggy. Only some of the beautiful 19th century row houses have succumbed to modern architecture and at least nothing they've built since 1971 is any uglier than the hideous art building they built in the 1960's. I always felt so sorry for the art students because they had to study art in the ugliest brick&concrete building in Richmond. And unlike the gracious old brick houses, the newer stuff hasn't aged with either beauty or grace. 

Happily, the music school is still houses the practice rooms in a lovely unconsecrated church and there was a couple sitting on the porch chatting as we walked by. And 917 is still the same even if it's no longer a music building. And it's locked, of course, as nothing ever seemed to be when we were there. I know. I spent the night on the 4th floor once, when I missed lock down at the dorm.  It was always my favorite of the music buildings even though it wasn't the fanciest. 
919 still looked good too - where around Halloween somebody asked me for my phone number. It wasn't my phone number, of course, it was the dorm phone where twice a month everyone had to do phone duty. Ah. Those pre-plug-in days of yore. Yeah. somebody ought to learn how to use the camera. 

We walked on down to 1617 Floyd, beneath the leafy canopy of autumn, remembering, pointing, laughing. The little grocery store on Lombardy is now a hair salon. The man who ran it was from Dunnsville, Essex Co. I remembered him as tall and thin like Melvin Clark. BD remembered him as heavier, like Mutt Brown. You can pick whom to believe but I'd advise you to put your money on TheQueen ... who used to smoke Virginia Slims and could sweep up the pennies off the floor to go get a pack of them at that same little grocery store. A pack was twenty two cents - and that was the expensive way to buy them.

We poked around getting out of Richmond and even missed the turn off to I85 south of Petersburg but most of the trip was interstate driving. We did find the KFC in Henderson NC and they even had photographs of the first restaurant - the one we actually stopped at on that first date. Yes. We did eat there. Okay but greasy.

We are older these days - and I had it in my mind that the drive to Chapel Hill would be longer than it really was. The plan was to stay over night and take our time coming home. But I had no nostalgic attachment to that town and when we're actually seen enough of it - and  realized that we could be home by 10:30 if we wanted to drive on through - well. It was a no-brainer. We'd much rather spend Monday at home, in Paradise. Which we did.

In fact, this was our last anniversary trip to NC. I like NC enough but I thought Chapel Hill was sort of snooty. The only friendly person we ran across was Beans the Dog who would do a trick for you for $1. His owner told me to ball up a dollar bill and hide it in an alley, out of sight of Beans. Then Beans would search the alley and come back with the crumpled bill, which he returned to me - and which I gave to his owner. So of course, petting Beans brought thoughts of white dogs who would really like to get back up in the Big Bed and if we made just that little push - we could make it happen.

Now - for the knitters out there who want to see how it's going with Bricca the Not-Really-an-Aran - here are a couple of photos. At the end of the 4th repeat I am just tying on the 4th skein. I have 17 of them. I believe there's enough yarn to knit the whole sweater in this stitch pattern. I tried it on and it is fitted over the bust, but not tight. I am seriously considering it - and I'll have lots of time to consider since I have to rip out that whole last chart repeat. Just look at the next photo!

You see - I switched to that pretty wooden new Knitters Pride Dreamz needle on the 4th repeat. It is much slicker than the Addi Natura I'd been using. The stitches in this repeat are so much looser and, ahem, sloppier, I will frog them all and go back to the original needle. Mind now. I like these new needles very much - I'll talk about them sometime in a later post. But I like my sculptured knitting to look tidy - the cabling and bobbling and knits and purls are enough interest. I don't want wobbly stitches.

And so. It's back to the Real World today and my own particular real world is so packed with obligations I'm almost daunted by it. But the stars tell me to get a move on and I see it's after 8. So off I go.


Sunday, October 16, 2011


Happy Anniversary: That old story you've heard before



* * *** * * * * * * * 

Long long ago there was a cheeky teenager, just past her 19th birthday, who was studying music at a big city university. One Friday, as she walked into the orchestra room, the flute player spun around in his chair, looked straight at her and asked her if she wanted to drive to North Carolina with him the next day.

“Sure” she said, desperate for anything to do on the weekend, when most of her friends split for home, leaving her to rattle all alone in a monolithical dormitory. Besides, he was one of the really good looking guys she and Robyn had decided were “cute enough to take us out”. And he had such a voice - deep sonorous basso profundo with the most delicious country southern drawl - not hick, in fact, very cultured, but oh so Southern. And startlingly blue eyes. Blue like autumn skies. And he was big - not fat or anything - just big with a big aura, a big presence. Nothing hesitant or shy or self-effacing. This was a man, not a boy, and he was inviting her to spend all day with him.

“Right.” he said. "Meet me at my house tomorrow at 10 a.m." and he gave directions to a row house in the Fan district, a few blocks from school.

Poor thing. Little did he know that he’d just arranged a date with his exact opposite in theGreatClockUniverse. She was no ditherer. No lingerer. No procrastinating late comer. She was anEarlyBird - always 15 minutes before hand, sometimes more. For this important assignation she was a full 30 minutes early, knocking on the dark and silent door of his first floor apartment.

“Stood up!” she thought. “Impossible” Nobody stood up this girl, no siree. And she stomped the four blocks back to school, snatched her fiddle out of her locker, slammed the practice room door shut and began to saw away, muttering imprecations, curses, indignant affronted descriptions of what is expected in this world, and other dark and damning words. But ...

She was also innately fair and as she scraped away at Kreutzer, she had to admit that the man had said come at 10. Perhaps he was out filling up the gas tank. Or perhaps he was renting a trailer. After all, the purpose of the trip was to retrieve his piano, waiting for him in his old place in Chapel Hill, NC. And so, at 10 o’clock for sure, she rounded the corner of Lombardy and Floyd and there he was, waving an arm, smiling happily and calling out “Hey Baby!”

She crossed the street and he invited her into his apartment. He offered her a beer, and though she hated the stuff - still does, in fact - she was also aware of what is cool and for a still-teenage girl at college, drinking beer at 10 a.m. was truly cool, so she said yes. He was back in a flash with a mason jar full of the most delicate, most mellow drink she’d ever tasted. His own home brew. There were gallons of it in his little bachelor kitchen. Now, be it gallons or pints, this stuff was potent and it was only moments before she was definitely in the mood to be entertained. And entertained she was, with music, books, ideas, and talk talk talk, tumbling out of this delightful man with his shelves full of books, boxes full of sheet music, head full of poetry in three different languages and kitchen full of nectar. Best of all, he was happy. Neither cynical, sarcastic nor jealous of another’s musical ability or progress, he was ready to share, to learn, to listen and to admire. In the highly competitive world of performing arts, here was someone with a blend of such innocence and courage there was nothing to do but laugh with pure pleasure and maybe fall in love a bit.

After a while the two of them tooled off in search of a U-haul place. Across the Lee Bridge at an Esso Station on Cowardan Ave., where Caravatti’s Junk Yard used to be, he stopped and went in to arrange a rental. Minutes passed and when he returned he stood right in front of the car and grinned at her through the windshield; one of those beaming, sunshiny “Ain’t this Grand?” grins. And as she stared up at him, suddenly he turned into an old man, still standing there, still grinning. She blinked; gawped; stared again. She looked down at her own hands and they had turned into an old lady's hands, the skin papery and spotted with large brown freckles, sunk down between the tendons. They were her grandmother’s hands. And she thought “My god. I’m going to be riding around in a car with this man when I’m an old lady.”

For some reason he had decided to rent the trailer in NC. Probably the Richmond outfit didn’t have what he was looking for. They motored on down I95, past the tobacco plant and warehouse district of south Richmond, past Petersburg, through Emporia. They talked the whole time, chattering, discovering, opening, sharing. At one point he said “well, there’s a lot you don’t know about me” and she thought “oh boy, there’s a lot you don’t know either”. And at that, there were some surprising points of contact. He had graduated from the same high school her dad had gone to. She had played a concert in Chapel Hill that he had gone to hear. He had taken lessons in Winston Salem while she had been a student at the School of the Arts. At Herndon, NC they stopped for lunch at a Kentucky Fried Chicken place. She had never been to one. In fact, fast food then consisted almost entirely of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, milkshakes and fries. Fried chicken was a real treat and, of course, to a 19-year old, it didn’t fortell the diet doom it was to present later on.

The October skies had been gray all day but they grew heavier and more threatening as evening approached. Rain began to fall. At a Carolina gas station he picked up a small box trailer and two ice cream sandwiches. “How did you know ice cream is my all time favorite treat?” she cried and to his question of “Then don’t I deserve a reward” she answered with a resounding kiss. Of course, this was in the days when, first off, girls worried about being thought forward or even worse; fast! It was also at a time when she was very wary of anything that would cause boys to sidle away from a touchy feely woman. Of course, this was no boy. 28, he’d told her. But when it’s the right guy, with the right gift, only a kiss will do.

It was harder to be chatty on the long dark wet drive home. Especially when the passenger was one of those Superior Morning Persons. For an SMP, darkness means it’s time to close one’s eyes. She still didn’t realize she was dealing with one of those Stubborn Night OwlsSNO’s think SMP’s are silly, especially the types who creep out of cozy warm beds before the sun is actually above the roof tops of the houses across the street. All those delightful discoveries were waiting up ahead for them. On that day, in the hypnotic glare of headlights on raindrops, she grew pretty drowsy. “I like to drive. Go to sleep” he told her and eventually she did.

It was too late to get back into the dorm when they reached Richmond. She’d known it would be and had signed out for the weekend. He gallantly put her up for the night. She was there the next day when other friends came around to help shove the piano down the narrow hallway and into the apartment. It was well into the afternoon before she made her way back to her place, to pace the dormitory halls till her girlfriend should show up and she could tell her the exciting news about the upcoming nuptials.

There have been many more rambles, in half a dozen different cars, since that October 16, thirty nine forty years ago. In 1991 the two of them took the trip to North Carolina all over again, even to starting at 1617 Floyd and to looking for some sort of U-haul place on the south side. They found the KFC in Herndon had moved a block but it was still serving up the original 11 herbs and spices recipe. They'll probably go off on a ramble today, the two of them, getting older, but not yet quite as old as the geezers in her vision.

But that is the story of my anniversary. We also celebrate a lovely wedding anniversary in April. It’s important, but not more important than October 16, when my favorite cute couple started out on life’s journey. Sometimes it’s hard to believe I even had a life before that day, although I can tell stories from that Mesozoic Era. It’s as if 10/16 were my real birthday; the day I began living my grown up life. BD, who had a head start on me, says he feels the same way.

There are a lot of stories in my bag of tales, but this one is my favorite.

Still rambling around

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Woo Woo! It came!

See what I found at the post office this morning?

Who needs Rhinebeck?

Since I'm NOT at Rhinebeck ...

The New York Sheep & Wool Festival, at least I can anticipate this:

Priority Mail®
Processed through Sort Facility
October 15, 2011, 1:18 am
Delivery Confirmation

Yes. A delivery of lots and Lots and LOTS of tweedy yarn. Probably not today since I can't imagine my mail getting from Sandston, through Tappahannock and into my mailbox in just 10 hours. I'd be neat if it was - but then, I bet the box would be too big  to go into even my oversized mailbox, so I'd have to pick it up at my own post office - and that won't be till after the weekend.

And I'm knitting on something anyway ... so I don't have to have New Yarn in my hot little hands this weekend. I just want to. Besides - while I was spending so freely, I also ordered another Addi Lace circular in size #7 and one of those Knitter's Pride Dreamz Fixed Circular Needles. I've enjoyed several different knitting needles over the years but so far, none of them have been able to push Addi circulars from the top of the list. I'm always willing to give it a try because there is a single flaw in the Addi needles - in all circular needles, and that's being able to keep track of the size! I know, I know. I could pop for a set of Addi Lace Clicks - and probably I should because at the price of 10 fixed circular needles I could get the set - and I believe the case for the tips might help me keep track of the sizes. And I can promise you - I have more than 10 fixed Addi needles. (hmmm. well. I am talking myself into making a Christmas wish list.) 

Knitter's Pride Trendz Interchangeable Circular Deluxe SetKnitter's Pride Dreamz Interchangeable Circular Deluxe SetBut I am still game to try out a new knitting needle. The shanks on the Dreamz needles are color coded, which particularly pleases my aesthetics.  They also have an interchangeable set - one in wood and another, cheaper in acrylic, both of which are color coded. So who knows. I may be converted after all. 

Tappahannock Farmers Market LogoToday is the last Farmer's Market in Tappahannock - and don't you know it - I left my camera in the Other Car. Dang. There will be no photos - and this ought to be a particularly fun market with a Halloween theme and the opening of the local artist's guild's studio right there on Prince Street.  I'll have to borrow a camera - since I can't bear the thought of leaving all this fun unrecorded. 
Teasing Smiley With Tongue Sticking Out stickers

So. Who needs Rhinebeck? And if I am going to get to the market in time to have a cozy cup of coffee with BH, I better skedaddle!

Happy Saturday to you all.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Baaaaaad Skein

Man - I have had such trouble getting Bricca off the ground - or at least, out of the skein. I've cast on half a dozen times. I joined the knitting with a twist, ripped it out and knit the set-up round - Rnd 2 - at least 3 times. Ugh. I am blaming the way the skein was wound at the factory, combined with the softness of this plush merino, cashmere and microfiber blend. Three slippery fibers who want to wander all over the place are a natural for tangling and misbehaving. I will not, of course, blame the fact that I made this first mess after a nice dish of shrimp scampi with a crisp white wine, while watching a movie.  

I finally had to give up on this hot mess, take it off the needles and leave it in a heap. When I am not wining (and whining) I will untangle it and put things to right. I will have to do quite a bit of frogging because I am sure I will need every inch of yarn I have to finish Bricca. Eventually, all swatches will be sentenced to the frog pond. 

But at last I have the beginnings of a sweater and am motoring along nicely. This is because I rewound the skeins with my trusty blue ball winder, releasing this long stored yarn from any bad karma left over from being rejected for 6 years. In it's new cake it feels free to become all that it can become - which is 15 arcade patterns sweetly marching round the needle. 

How I wish I could stay home today and as BD says, "just ka-nit ka-nit ka-nit." Especially since it's once again raining. But a nice long weekend is coming soon. There will be ample knitting time then. I am sure I can't complete this sweater in 4 weeks, but I bet I can have it done before Christmas.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Tweedy Decision

So - I decide to cast on my Bricca and what shows up in the mail at last? Yes. The sample skeins of tweed yarn I bought because - the photo on-line and in the catalogs looked like KnitPicks just might have the exact color I was looking for. I also ordered something named Barn Door. It doesn't look like any barn door I ever saw - but it's a pretty plum color and goes very nicely with the grey tweed they make. 

But neither of the colors are what I was looking for and since the Cleckheaton is so close it's almost a bulls eye - and since I've been looking at that swatch, displayed on the buffet in the den so I can see it every time I go into that room, I've rather fallen in love with it. 

And So. And so an order to WEBBS was sent off and another box of yarn is winging its way to TheCastle. And I am asking myself   "Do I really think I can knit two cabled sweaters this fall (and winter)?"

Ah well. I have nothing if not hubris.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Short Work Weeks

I love them. Monday holiday weeks. Using comp time on a  Friday weeks. On Vacation weeks. The trick is to prepare for them so that you aren't groaning when you have to cram 5 days worth of stuff into 4 days worth of week. Last week it meant staying late a little and coming in early a little - and today is no different. I'll be on the job by 8:30 but I am good with that. I needed yesterday at home and alone to haul down from the attic the winter wardrobe. Not that I can haul up the summertime wardrobe. We're promised days approaching 80 degrees this week and nary a frosty morn in sight. But this isn't Florida and breezy summer cottons just look funny against the autumn leaves. 

Autumn colors are coming in slowly this warm fall. It will be interesting to see how they progress. Some of the trees are so beat up from the hurricane they probably will just get brown and drop off but I'm glad to see the maples and black gums are full of color. And there is nothing lie autumn light to make a pretty white dog gleam.

These lacy fuzzy trees are cyprus - which usually turn copper - though this year some of them are more yellow. I took these photos Sunday when BD and I (and Jack) walked all over White Oak Swamp. There were about forty gazillion mosquitoes but I went prepared, fully sprayed and well shod - which was a good thing since we came upon 2 snakes - a black racer and my very first live copperhead. A weird looking baby snake that was so flattened out I wonder if he was about to shed. Not more than 7 inches long, I got two photos of him

There are almost as many acorns this year as mosquitoes and they're big! Lots of squirrels next spring, I'm guessing.

There's so much water everywhere in the swamp and BD says once the leaves drop, whatever wetness there is will be there till springtime. Last year was such a dry winter we could scramble all over the place but I suspect - after 25 inches of rain, that won't be the case this winter. Ahh well. That's why it's called White Oak Swamp.

So. It's back to werk for this gal - but there are More Days Off up ahead! Yippee.

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's a Blogaversary!

I was determined to post something in honor of LTQ2's one year anniversary - even though I just posted last night. It has been a packed and full year with great delights matched by equally monumental sadnesses. My world rocked when my beloved Priss died. It crashed to the ground when Daddy died. I soared above the earth peering out over the grand canyon and snuggled down tight with cousins on Chincoteague Island. I lost over an acre of trees in a September hurricane and fed birds in a January snow storm. I was able to transplant half my daffodils along the lane and traipse over new territory in White Oak Swamp after the hunters blazed paths through the undergrowth. I celebrated with more cousins at a wedding. They comforted me at a funeral. I knit a dress. I knit a sweater. I knit another sweater in 4 short weeks. I spent time with girlfriends and read several new authors. BD read me half a dozen Shakespear plays through a month of rainy weekends. I baked amazing cookies for a girlfriend's birthday. I was introduced to a new restaurant by still more cousins and I spread out crabs on the porch for them in return. We had rain. We had heat. We had cold to freeze our feet. It has been an amazing 12 months. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Arcade swatch

As promised, here are photos of the BW Arcade pattern knit in Cashmerino Aran on a #7 needle. I think it's a particularly stunning pattern. I love how it looks in the yarn, though I don't think it lends itself to the pyramid design I talked about in the previous post. At least, not if I want to knit all the rest of the sweater in stockinette. I had thought those arching knit stitches would lead the eye along the diagonal but, in fact, this pattern really is a square of purls with bobbles surrounded by the knit arches. When you step the repeats you get something of a checkerboard effect, not a pyramid. 


It would work if I were knitting this in reverse stockinette - but truth is - I'm not all that crazy about the purl side of knit fabric - and I sure has heck don't want to knit the whole thing in purls. Ugh. I know all this sculpture is going to take time. I want the smooth part of this project to be fast knitting.

But I am utterly charmed by the pattern. It's easy to memorize, easy to read if I have to set it down for Other Things. I enjoy it enough to not mind the many repeats I'll need to do to carry it around the sweater body. The unblocked gauge I'm getting is 4.5 stitches & 6.5 rows in stockinette and almost a 1.5 inch square in the cable. But I have wet blocked it and it's drying on thick towels as I type this, because with cables, as with lace, you really need to have more gauge details before you cast on. 

I have 1700 yards of this yarn so I believe I'll have enough. Based on the unblocked gauge I will need 14 repeats of the pattern around and I'll make it 4 arcades deep. A slightly over-sized crew neck opening will be finished off with one round of arcades and the sleeves will end in a 2 arcade deep cuff. Everything will probably get an i-cord edging - much the way I did with my long lamented lost Flidas. 

So. That's the plan. After I have more concrete gauge information - sometime tomorrow.